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Police found no video of slain girl entering Burnaby park: lead investigator

Sgt. Maj. Heather Lew, the lead investigator in the case of a 13-year-old girl found dead in Burnaby's Central Park in July 2017, testified at the Ibrahim Ali murder trial Wednesday.

Despite an extensive search, police investigators never found any videos of Ibrahim Ali, or the 13-year-old girl he is accused of killing, entering the Burnaby park where her body was found six years ago, according to testimony at Ali's murder trial this week.

Sgt. Maj. Heather Lew, the primary investigator in the case, was in the witness stand at the trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Wednesday.

Ali has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of the girl, whose body was found in the bush beside a Central Park trail on July 19, 2017, less than two hours after her family reported her missing at about 11 p.m. on July 18, 2017.

Ali has pleaded not guilty.

The girl cannot be identified because of a publication ban.

Lew, a corporal at the time, was the lead investigator in the case, but Crown prosecutor Daniel Porte didn’t ask her any questions about the details of the investigation or how police zeroed in on Ali.

Instead, Porte focused on a warranted blood sample she took from Ali after his arrest.

Earlier in the trial, the jury heard that investigators had submitted a discarded cigarette butt from Ali to the RCMP’s forensic lab for analysis on a priority basis on Aug. 27, 2018.

DNA expert Dr. Christine Crossman testified DNA from the butt had matched DNA from semen found inside the girl.

After Ali’s arrest on Sept. 7, 2018, Lew said she took a blood sample from Ali at the Burnaby RCMP cells on Sept. 9, 2018.

That sample also matched the DNA from inside the girl, according to Crossman's earlier testimony.

The Crown's theory is that Ali and the girl were strangers to one another and that he attacked her on a trail in Central Park, dragged her into the forest and strangled her to death while sexually assaulting her.

During cross examination, however, Kevin McCullough asked Lew about video evidence collected by investigators.

He suggested police would have been eager to find video footage that could establish when the girl entered the park.

“In that effort what you do, as the primary investigator, is try and get every camera that your possibly could, any CCTV, any video, any anything to show (the girl) going into the park and what time that could have happened, correct?”


“No video you ever find, as the primary investigator, the police find, actually shows her going into the park, correct?”


McCullough asked if, after Ali’s arrest, police went back through the video to see if any of it showed him around the park or going into the park.

“I believe so,” Lew said.

“I’m going to suggest to you you know that, in all that video, there’s no video of Mr. Ali going into the park or around the park or even showing up on the video, correct?”


Lew’s cross examination is expected to continue Thursday morning.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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